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Published: Saturday, 7/14/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Collins seeks alliance for dog-bite inquiries

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
City Councilman D. Michael Collins, right, canceled a public safety, law, and criminal justice committee meeting, which had been scheduled for July 11, and sent a letter to Lucas County Commission President Pete Gerken, left, asking for a information pertaining to the Lucas County Dog Warden's department. City Councilman D. Michael Collins, right, canceled a public safety, law, and criminal justice committee meeting, which had been scheduled for July 11, and sent a letter to Lucas County Commission President Pete Gerken, left, asking for a information pertaining to the Lucas County Dog Warden's department.
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City Councilman D. Michael Collins is miffed that the Lucas County dog warden wasn't available to attend a public safety, law,and criminal justice committee meeting to discuss the enforcement of vicious dog laws.

In response, he canceled the meeting, which had been scheduled for July 11, and sent a letter to Lucas County Commission President Pete Gerken asking for a slew of information pertaining to the Lucas County Dog Warden's department.

Mr. Collins said he was told that the county was going to send Joe Walter, the Emergency Management Agency director to the meeting instead of Julie Lyle.

"He's a nice guy but he doesn't have anything to do with this," Mr. Collins said.

The July 5 letter that Mr. Collins sent to Mr. Gerken asks: What procedures have been put in place in Lucas County as it relates to Toledo's vicious dog laws and how many cases have been investigated or prosecuted with the Toledo Police Department or the Lucas County Dog Warden's office under the new law?

It also requests the number of dog-bite complaints for 2011 and 2012 to date and the number of dogs that have been classified under each category of the dog law.

Mr. Collins said he plans to ask for the same information from the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Department of Health, which also tracks dog bites.

He said he is concerned that the three entities are not working together to share information and properly investigate dog bites.

"Even though we have three separate institutions involved, there should be a coordination of efforts so these records and the proper levels of prosecution are going on," Mr. Collins said.

Mr. Gerken said he never formally responded to Mr. Collins' letter asking that Ms. Lyle attend the meeting. However, given that the county and city don't have a new contract in place for after-hours dog warden services, he said he was "a little reluctant to negotiate in public."

Mr. Gerken said he will get the information to Mr. Collins as soon as he's able, but declined to specify when.

"I'll try to get him the information he wants; I don't have a problem with that," Mr. Gerken said.

He said his focus has been on getting a new contract between the county and the city for after-hour dog warden services. The dog warden's office has been working under a contract extension since its contract expired April 1.

Mr. Collins said the county is not doing enough to ensure vicious dogs are kept under control. He was disappointed that Ms. Lyle was not available to attend the meeting and discuss the issue.

"I'm disappointed that the agency that is responsible for the enforcement of the laws of the state of Ohio has exhibited a lack of desire to work with the city of Toledo, the largest component under the jurisdiction of the Lucas County dog warden," Mr. Collins said.

"It seems to me that the taxpayers of the city of Toledo are the largest license holders of dogs in the county and receive a very minimal level of service."

Staff writer Claudia Boyd-Barrett contributed to this report.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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